The Revolution liked the last issue of Teen Titans with the exception of the incredibly lame mind control plotline involving Batgirl. I have a feeling that this cop-out of a plotline is going to assume center stage of this story arc and kill any interest I had in this Titans East story arc. Of course, maybe my fears are totally unfounded. Maybe Teen Titans #44 can keep the streak of consistently great reads on this title going for yet another month. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Geoff Johns & Adam Beechen
Penciller: Tony Daniel
Inker: Jonathon Glapion
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We start with Ravager and Jericho investigating the Titans East Tower and running across Deathstroke the Terminator. Ravager and Jericho immediately attack their father.
We cut to Wonder Girl waking up in the Fortress of Solitude. Wonder Girl at first thinks Match is Conner, but once he steps out of the shadows, she recoils in horror. Wonder Girl is pissed that Match is alive and Conner isn’t. Match proceeds to lay a beat down on Wonder Girl.
We cut to Kid Devil tied up on a cross. Kid Crusader tells Kid Devil that he is going to free Kid Devil from the Devil’s influence. Kid Crusader utters a spell that returns Kid Devil back to his human form. Kid Crusader says that it is only temporary so he must kill Kid Devil before the Devil’s influence returns. Kid Crusader apologizes that it must be this way, but that Kid Devil will be going to a better place.
We shift to Robin tied up and at the mercy of Batgirl. Suddenly, Jericho, Ravager and Deathstroke come crashing through the wall of the cave where Robin and Batgirl are located. Batgirl immediately attacks Ravager. Jericho then uses Deathstroke’s sword and stabs Deathstroke through his chest. Batgirl and Ravager continue fighting. Ravager calls Batgirl “Bat-Bitch.” (Which officially cements Ravager as my favorite Titan.)
We cut to Raven held captive by Riddler’s daughter and Joker’s daughter. They play mind tricks on Raven that she is going to lose control of her emotions and become Trigon.
We shift to Risk and Cyborg. Risk has removed all of Cyborg’s arms and legs. Risk says that the Titans put each other back together like they do for Cyborg all the time. However, the Titans never did that for Risk. That they never viewed him as one of them. Risk says that Deathstroke said Risk could take whatever pieces from Cyborg that Risk would need. Risk says Cyborg doesn’t have anything that he needs.
Risk says he has a ton of Deathstroke’s money. And he has his anger at the world. That is all he needs. Risk says he doesn’t hate Cyborg personally, but that Risk needs a place to focus all his anger and that is going to be on Cyborg.
We cut to Miss Martian strapped into a machine that keeps her body at sixty-two-point- seven degrees Celsius where Martian skin bubbles from the heat. Inferno and Inertia are mocking Miss Martian. Inferno says that Martians are slaves in the future because of a terrible crime on Martian committed on Humanity. That Martian is Miss Martian and that Miss Martian is Inferno’s slave in the future. Inertia then tells Inferno that Slade needs them.
We shift to the cave where Jericho and Deathstroke are fighting and Ravager is getting the upper hand on Bat-Bitch. Inertia blasts in and takes out Ravager. Robin manages to free himself. Batgirl attacks Robin. Robin tells her that he made a counter-serum to Deathstroke’s mind control serum just in case Deathstroke got his hands on Ravager and the Titans had to stop her again. Robin then injects Bat-Bitch in the throat.
And presto change-o, Batgirl turns to “normal.” Batgirl says that Deathstroke drugged her and used her like he did with Terra and Ravager. That she remembers it all. She pulls off her mask and says that she is going to kill Deathstroke. End of issue.
The Good: Teen Titans #44 was a better than average issue. Johns and Beechen moved this issue along at a nice pace. This was definitely one seriously action packed issue. We got plenty of brawling from the very beginning all the way to the end.
I loved the various match-ups that we got in this issue. Match versus Wonder Girl is compelling. You have Cassie having to fight the monstrous version of her dead boyfriend. That is a great twist.
Inertia and Inferno versus Miss Martian. That was the most interesting of all the match-ups. It was quite intriguing that in the future Martians are slaves. And that it is all due to one Martian, Miss Martian, and a horrible crime against humanity that she committed. And to top it all off, Inferno is the person who owns Miss Martian in the future.
This teaser certainly grabbed my interest. Suddenly, Miss Martian went from a rather bland character to one that has a pretty intriguing plotline involving her future. I hope that Beechen decides to investigate this plotline a little deeper during his run on the Teen Titans.
I dig how Johns and Beechen are handling Risk’s character. Risk’s anger and rage is completely understandable. The reader can easily be sympathetic to Risk and why he is doing what he is doing. I liked the comparison between Cyborg who the Titans have put together numerous times and Risk who lost his arm and was basically discarded by the Titans. Plus, you gotta love Risk’s bitchin’ moustache.
The match-up between Ravager and Jericho versus their daddy, Deathstroke, was fantastic. It has plenty of drama and emotion. Seeing Jericho stab Deathstroke through the chest was certainly unexpected. What makes this brawl so interesting is the fact that no matter how angry Ravager and Jericho are with Deathstroke, he is still their father. And no matter how messed up the things that Deathstroke has done to his children, he honestly believes that he has done all of those things out of love for his children.
I’m interested to see how Johns and Beechen resolve this family drama. I hope that Ravager and Jericho stay with the Titans. However, I have this sinking feeling that the siblings are going to leave the team in order to work on themselves and their family. I hope I’m wrong.
The match-up between Robin and “evil” Batgirl is fantastic. It has plenty of drama and emotion. There is nothing more delicious than a close friend and ally who has turned to the darkside. “Evil” Batgirl is awesome and quite interesting. “Good” Batgirl under the influence of mind control is just another lame derivative character. “Good” Batgirl interests me about as much as Supergirl does. And anyone that knows the Revolution is quite familiar with my disdain for Superbarbie.
On the flipside, I just love Ravager more and more with each passing issue. Johns had already gotten me to warm up to Rose’s character and now this issue cinches it for me. Ravager busting out the name “Bat-Bitch” and fearlessly brawling with Batgirl and refusing to back down made me dig Rose even more. Ravager is a great character and I hope that Beechen keeps Ravager on the Titans’ roster.
Tony Daniel supplied his usual fine artwork. I love how Daniel draws the Titans. Daniel always crafts a pleasing looking comic book that does an excellent job conveying the emotions of the various characters.
The Bad: Teen Titans #44 was certainly the weakest issue of the Teen Titans that I have read in a long time. And that is alarming since this story arc is where DC Comics mixes Adam Beechen into the creative team to serve as a bridge for Beechen taking over the Teen Titans from the very capable hands of Geoff Johns. I don’t think it is a coincidence that when Beechen comes into co-write this story arc with Johns that suddenly, the quality of the writing slips.
I have had serious reservations about DC placing the Teen Titans into Beechen’s hands as of issue #47. Beechen has done a solid and respectable job on Robin ever since the One Year Later story arc began. However, at no point was Beechen’s writing anything that special and Beechen’s story on Robin has definitely declined over the past six issues.
I was surprised at the lack of substance to this story arc. I had high expectations and felt that we were going to get a story arc with more to it than what we got in this issue. I felt that Beechen and Johns really rushed the plotline involving Batgirl. I honestly thought it would take longer to resolve Batgirl being under Deathstroke’s mind control. I mean, I thought the mind control serum was incredibly convenient, but having Robin just happen to have some anti-serum on him and quickly free Batgirl from the mind control was just way to easy and expedient.
Beechen and Johns failed to get me to change my opinion concerning the entire mind control plotline involving Batgirl. I still firmly believe that it smacks of an alarming lack of creativity. This mind control plotline is just far too convenient literary tool and fails to capture any of my interest at all. Mind control as an excuse for a character’s seemingly heel turn is lame. Always has been and always will be. It is too bad that Beechen didn’t stick to his guns and keep Batgirl as a villain. I think as a villain she has much more potential than as yet another in a very long line of derivative heroes.
I could care less about Joker’s daughter and Riddler’s daughter. I find both characters to be terribly boring and just cheap imitations of the real characters. This match-up with Raven is the only one that presents little to no interest for me. Another reason why this match-up isn’t as interesting is because there is no history between these characters unlike the other match-ups.
I think the match-up between Risk and Cyborg is forced. But, to be fair, Johns and Beechen didn’t have much choice. Cyborg doesn’t have a natural foil like the other Titans. So, Risk had to be shoe horned in to take on Cyborg.
The ending was certainly dramatic enough. However, it did nothing to get me excited about the next issue. This ending gave me the impression that this story arc is going to be dominated by Batgirl and her feud with Deathstroke.
Overall: Teen Titans #44 was a better than average read. If you like big-time fights, then Teen Titans #44 was definitely an issue that you would enjoy. If you are a big Batgirl fan then you will absolutely love the ending to this issue. Batgirl fans should definitely run out and purchase this issue. For the rest of us, this issue was nothing that great.